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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    ‘Avatar’ marks six straight weeks at number one, crosses USD2B

    Jake Coyle

    NEW YORK (AP) – James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water led ticket sales in movie theatres for the sixth straight weekend, making it the first film to have such a sustained reign atop the box office since 2009’s Avatar.

    The Walt Disney Co’s The Way of Water added USD19.7 million in US and Canadian theatres over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Its global total has now surpassed USD2 billion, putting it sixth all-time and just ahead of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Domestically, The Way of Water is up to USD598 million. Continued robust international sales (USD56.3 million for the weekend) has helped push the Avatar sequel to USD2.024 billion worldwide.

    A year ago, Spider-Man: No Way Home also topped the box office for six weekends, but did it over the course of seven weeks. You have to go back to Cameron’s original Avatar to find a movie that stayed number one for such a long span. (Avatar ultimately topped out at seven weeks.) Before that, the only film in the past 25 years to manage the feat was another Cameron film; Titanic (1997) went undefeated for 15 weeks.

    The Way of Water has now reached a target that Cameron himself set for the very expensive sequel. Ahead of its release, Cameron said becoming “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” was “your break even”.

    Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, director James Cameron, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington at a photocall for ‘The Way of Water’ in London. PHOTO: AP

    The box-office domination for The Way of Water has been aided, in part, by a dearth of formidable challengers. The only new wide release from a major studio on the weekend was the thriller Missing, from Sony’s Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. A low-budget sequel to 2018’s Searching, starring Storm Reid as a teenager seeking her missing mother, Missing plays out across computer screens. The film, budgeted at USD7 million, debuted with USD9.3 million.

    January is typically a slow period in theatres, but a handful of strong-performing holdovers have helped prop up sales.

    Though it didn’t open hugely in December, Universal Pictures’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has had long legs as one of the only family options in theatres over the last month. In its fifth week, it came in second place with USD11.5 million domestically and USD17.8 million overseas. The Puss in Boots sequel has grossed USD297.5 million globally.

    The creepy doll horror hit M3gan, also from Universal, has likewise continued to pull in moviegoers. It notched USD9.8 million in its third week, bringing its domestic haul to USD73.3 million.

    And while the popularity of horror titles in theatres is nothing new, Sony Pictures’ A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks, has flourished in a marketplace that’s been trying for adult-oriented dramas. The film, a remake of the Swedish film A Man Called Ove, about a retired man whose suicide plans are continually foiled by his neighbours, made USD9 million in its second week of wide release. It’s taken in USD35.3 million domestically through Sunday.

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